World News

SINGAPORE: Voting Despite COVID-19

SINGAPORE: After nine days of campaigning amid the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, Singaporeans are heading to the ballot box as Polling Day gets under way on Friday (Jul 10).

It has been an election season like no other, as candidates and voters alike seek to navigate safety measures and provisions brought about by the novel coronavirus pandemic. A slew of measures have been put in place for Polling Day itself to help keep people safe.

Voting kicks off at 8am, with a special time-band set aside for senior voters aged 65 and above at most polling stations.

READ: What are the COVID-19 safety measures for Polling Day? Here’s what voters need to know

MORE: In pictures: GE2020 campaign trail amid the COVID-19 outbreak

The rest of the electorate has been assigned recommended voting time slots – indicated on poll cards – to spread voters out across polling hours, although if you cannot make your slot you can still vote at any time polling stations are open.

A bird’s eye view of the queue outside Teck Ghee Primary School at about 11.15am.

The queue formed as early as 10.35am, many of those in line the elderly who brought umbrellas and makeshift seats.

Women were seen handing out water bottles and election officials pushed out wheelchairs from the school for those who needed them.

Several elderly voters CNA spoke to said they were not aware they could skip the queue.

Retired secretary Jennifer Tan, 66, said she was told she did not need to queue but noted there were people older than her in line. She said she had seen queues in previous elections but none this long. Ms Tan took about 20 minutes to cast her vote.

Voter Cheryl Chang, a 50-year-old woman who works in education, took her 82-year-old mother to vote at the school. She said the process was “good” and “very organised”, but that she waited for more than an hour.

“This year it’s because of the pandemic, so I guess they are more particular about the queue and everything, otherwise you can come at your own timing,” she said.

— ChannelNewsAsia: images and story